To achieve success in the weight room, or life for that matter, you need to have a few things; first on the list is a clear goal of what you want to achieve. Once you set your goals for the cycle you can effectively create a program to achieve those goals. If you don’t have a goal, how would you know what sets, reps, and exercises to program?

Goals: Not Just For the Competitive Athlete

Obviously, we can all see the benefits of having a goal if you are a competitive athlete. But what about the everyday gym rat? Are goals important for them also? The answer is an emphatic YES!

If you belong to the gym rat demographic mentioned above answer this – why do you toil away in the gym? If the answer is to get bigger and stronger, or in better shape then you have an objective when you step into the weight room. But to actually accomplish what you want, you need to have clear goals that can be realized.


When you make a goal it has to have some components, otherwise it is just a wish. The acronym SMART has five components essential to successful goal setting – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

SPECIFIC – To be specific a goal it must answer four “W” questions. Who? What? Where? When? For example, wanting to “get huge” is not specific but wanting to gain 1” on your bicep measurement in three months is a specific goal.

MEASUREABLE – Your goal needs to be able to be quantified. Going back to the arms example, “getting huge” is not quantifiable, but wanting to add 1” to your arms has a measurable component. Ask yourself this question, how will I know when my goal is reached? If you can’t answer that question then your goal is not measurable.

ACHIEVABLE – This is an easy one to explain but is sometimes harder to put in to practice. You want to be able to achieve any goals you set, if you don’t it can be discouraging. If you deadlift 700 pounds, a goal of adding 50 pounds to your deadlift in two months is not very achievable. You want to set your goal high, but not too high. This is where it helps to have a coach or mentor helping you. They may be more grounded in reality.

RELEVANT – You want all of your goals to be aligned. If your long term goal is to deadlift 700 pounds, then set short-term goals that work together to help you achieve this goal.

TIME-BOUND – Your goals need to have a time component to them. For example, deadlifting 725 pounds is specific and measurable but it does not have a time-bound component. Whereas deadlifting 725 pounds on May 9, 2015 does have a time component.

It may sound corny but you need to set SMART goals in the weight room. The people who don’t have SMART goals are the same ones you see every day in the gym who don’t seem to ever grow stronger or bigger.